Whew. We're back, baby. You all look fat and tired through my computer screen, what with all the lack of Walking. Get your shoes, let's go.
Yes, hockey is back tonight, with a big home game against the red hot Nashville Predators. A week long layoff would be a bad sign, but the Preds had the same layoff, so maybe that's a wash. Maybe not. From all reports, the Wild will go with the same lineup that is riding a two game winning streak, meaning Marek Zidlicky sits again. It is refreshing to see a coach who demands the best and is not afraid to stick a guy on the bench if the results aren't there.
It's been so long since we have seen any real hockey, I'm not even sure I know how to watch it anymore. Of course, it is my wife's birthday (and Nathan's daughter's birthday), so it may be unlikely either of us get to watch any real hockey for another night or so.
We have your links, though, to get you back in the mood. Enjoy.
First Things First
Defending The Blue Line | Joining Forces Community Challenge - Go vote. Now. Before you read any farther. Click the link, vote. Do it.
CHART: Sizing up the Wild down the stretch | StarTribune.com - Sizing them up. Shouldn't take too long.
Scoggins: Wild's top stars need to lead this push to playoffs | StarTribune.com - Yes, yes they do. And it is really nice to see Nick Schultz listed among that group.
Crunch time for Wild | StarTribune.com - "The Wild hopes it rediscovered its winning formula just before the All-Star break, turning hard work and good defense into goal-scoring chances." Sorry Tom.
Wild ready to focus on final push to playoffs - PLAYOFFS? YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS?!? Sorry. Couldn't resist.
On the Forecheck - Our good friends at OtF will be the opposition tonight. Enjoy that.
Off the Trail
Bettman reiterates support for shootout as tiebreaker - Anytime an organization claims they have a 70-80% support level on anything short of giving away money for free, I have strong doubts. I'mbetting this is a less than scientific poll. Seven years into doing this, I have never, ever had someone tell me "Man I love the shootout."
Agents of Change: Ritch Responds - The Press - Have an hour to kill? Take in this mezmorizingly terrible post from an NHL agent. It goes from pompous bragging about the hoity-toity books he has read, into a debate about what Ayn Rand wants the press to be, to comparisons of Thomas Paine and hockey bloggers, to a TOI issue with Cody Hodgson (his client), to American politics, to German psychologists, and all throughout constant bitching about the media.
I wondered if this was written by Grandpa Simpson, and if the author walked out of his office with a fish in a plastic bag shouting "Who's coming with me?"